Rough Dreams

Disappear. Reappear.

Written by: PP on 24/10/2021 19:09:01

Knoxville, TN punk rockers Rough Dreams just released their debut album "Disappear. Reappear." a few weeks back, and it's been spinning on repeat in this scribe's stereo ever since then. Taking cues from the gravelly, coarse patches of Midwestern punk and the more polished The Menzingers type anthemic sing-alongs, the record is a perfect cocktail between the two styles that also features hints and parallels to bands like Red City Radio, Off With Their Heads, and to an extent, Dillinger Four.

Rough Dreams are armed with a dual-vocal approach, where the clean vocalist recalls The Swellers on songs like "Disappear" (no doubt a byproduct of the producer being ex-Swellers singer Nick Diener). He is nicely contrasted by the D4-style scratchy delivery that takes the lead on "Desert Ghosts", one of the highlight tracks on the album. Then you have infectiously catchy cuts like "Cursed At The Sun" where the two approaches combine for alternating lines, forming a spirited dynamic around its sing-along chorus of "She ran like the devil and cursed at the sun, had a soft spot for rebels and boys on the run" that has the same vibes as the first Red City Radio album did back in the day.

Instrumentally, the band relies on upbeat, brightly sparkling guitars on one hand, and FEST-style Midwestern punk shredding on the other. The resulting expression is one that feels polished at times - almost like pop punk - but then dives straight into basement-style intensity with roughened edges and raw energy on display. "First Life Crisis" is an excellent example. Essentially, it's exactly the kind of material that has tiny venues turn into explosions of energy, sing-alongs and sweaty mosh pits, just like we remember them from FEST.

The eight-minute "Challanger.86-Scavengers" feels like the centerpiece of the album, an ambitious undertaking that explores call/response in the vein of old Taking Back Sunday material in the second half of the track. It showcases the band's ability to also play around with variety and different elements in their soundscape, which usually is a sign of a band that's going to deliver some quality albums further down the line.

The best part about "Disappear. Reappear." is its consistency. Nearly all songs on the record own sing-along potential at live shows, suggesting these guys will quickly evolve from the tiny following they currently have into something much bigger once they get out to play these songs in front of crowds. For now, they remain an undiscovered gem if you're into FEST-style punk rock.


Download: Cursed At The Sun, Desert Ghosts, FIrst Life Crisis, Challanger.86-Scavengers
For the fans of: The Menzingers, Red City Radio, Dillinger Four, The Swellers, Off With Their Heads, Taking Back Sunday
Listen: Facebook

Release date 24.09.2019
59 X Records

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